This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent sends us the following from the London Examiner and asks what we think of it:
"A most interesting observation, referring to the power of germination in seed which is hundreds and even thousands of years old, is said to have been made by Professor Hendreich in Greece. In the silver mines of Laurium, only the slags left by the ancient Greeks are at present worked off, in order to gain, after an improved modern method, silver still left in that dross. This refuse ore is probably about two thousand years old. Among it, the seed of a species of Glaucium or poppy was found, which had slept in the darkness of the earth during all that time. After a little while, when the slags were brought up and worked off at the melting ovens, there suddenly arose a crop of Glaucium plants, with a beautiful yellow flower, of a kind unknown in modern botany, but which is described by Pliny and others as a frequent flower in ancient Greece."
[Wedo not "think of it" much. Glauciums with "a beautiful yellow flower" are common enough in Greece. Why do not people who are anxious to know "what to think " about these things,put a few Glaucium seeds in a bottle, seal the bottle air tight, and bury in the earth. We would give the "silver mines of Laurium" if we owned them against the seeds remaining vital five years, to say nothing of twenty hundred years. Some day when the Grecians get as many railroads as we have, and as active scientists to investigate, we fancy plenty of things " unknown to modern Botany," will be found all around them. We know of no evidence satisfactory to us, that any seeds have been found vital under the extraordinary circumstances claimed. The whole theory of great vitality through long periods when buried in the earth, is at best founded on nothing but shrewd guesses, and, in the main on the evidence of persons of no more importance in a scientific point of view than those who believe wheat is transformed from chess. - Ed. G. M J